Top Story – US Ambassador-Designate to Japan says Senkaku Islands are covered under bilateral treaty: Caroline Kennedy’s statement was the most definitive by a US official (or, in her case, soon-to-be official) that the Senkakus were off-limits to Communist China. Naturally, the Japanese were thrilled (Japan News).

Other International News: Smithfield’s stockholders agreed to sell the company to Shuanghui International (Virginia Pilot). Efforts by cadres in the UN to silence voices on the persecution of Falun Gong end badly (Epoch Times). The island democracy on Taiwan received the first of twelve P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft from the United States (Manila Times), but the Chinese Communist regime managed to block Taiwan’s effort to join the International Civil Aviation Organization (Taipei Times).

Could the CCP Fall from Power? Gordon Chang thinks so, and gives a very detailed explanation, but it essentially boils down to this: “the Chinese want many things, but the most fundamental is far more say in their lives, and that is the one thing Xi Jinping is not prepared to grant them.”

Economy in Communist China continues to wheeze: An independent assessment of the economy in Communist China (i.e., one not based on the regime’s fudged statistics) shows “weakening gains in profits, revenues, wages, employment, and prices, all showing slipping growth on-quarter” (via Epoch Times). A real estate bubble and withdrawal of foreign investment certainly aren’t helping (Epoch Times).

Xi Jinping’s doctoral thesis may have been plagiarized: This would be the most high-profile example of skullduggery in the Chinese Communist Party (Epoch Times).

Kuomintang Party agrees to meeting with the CCP: The party currently ruling Taiwan will send a delegation to Nanning, Guanxi, late next month (Taipei Times).

Protestors in Taiwan vow to follow Kuomintang Party conference: Anti-KMT protestors told the Taipei Times that the delay of the party conference will not mean the party avoided them, however much it tries. One should note that the KMT is far more eager to meet CCP members (see above) than their political opposition.